Let’s be honest, unless it’s the swimsuit issue, no one is readying Sports Illustrated.
As the offseason begins to wind down, Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Sharp released his NBA offseason grades.
After a bevy of moves to start the summer, including an All-Star signing, Danny Ainge and the Celtics received a rather surprising, ‘C’.
The basis for the harsh grade, according to Sharp, is a result of looking at what could have happened for the Celtics, not simply what they managed to accomplish.
“Processing the Summer of Ainge means considering not just what happened, but what was possible,” wrote Sharp.
When breaking down his reasoning, Sharp noted missing out on landing Paul George, trading away what would have been Markelle Fultz in the No. 1 overall pick to the Philadelphia 76ers, and trading away Avery Bradley as the key factors behind his grade.
Sharp sees Gordon Hayward as a “poor man’s version of Paul George” and Jayson Tatum as “a lottery pick with a lower ceiling than Markelle Fultz.” He also states his worries about the Celtics trading away Bradley, claiming that his “perimeter defense helps hide Isaiah Thomas’s biggest weakness.”
While Sharp does concede that “Boston’s starting nucleus is better than it was last year” he clearly questions the future of the Celtics.
“Without Paul George they’re not all that well positioned to contend next year, and without Fultz, the young core still doesn’t have any player who looks like a future superstar,” he wrote. “Maybe that will come via next year’s Nets pick? Or the Lakers/Kings pick? Or another trade? Or maybe it’ll change with a promising rookie season from Tatum. The only guarantee is that arguments about the Celtics will continue for at least another few years. This is our new version of the Sixers. Everyone in basketball has an opinion on what the Celtics are doing with their assets, why they’re doing it, and whether it’s stupid or brilliant. I’m just not sure it needed to be this complicated.”
Here’s our take: Tatum will be better than Fultz, mark that down, screen shot it, anything. Tatum has a much higher ceiling. It’s beyond evident watching them. This guy is simply wrong. This team went from a team that could maybe contend for a conference final to a team you could easily pencil in to the conference finals every season. These guys are only getting more and more experience. This year was huge for the younger guys on the roster. They learned a lot. This entire team has a ton of upside. In 3 years, even if LeBron is in Cleveland, Boston will be the team to beat in the east.